A DIY vocal booth is the best way for recording great sounding vocals at home.
Vocals are one of the most essential elements of a track. Getting them right in a home studio could be tough.
There are no fancy mixing techniques that could save you when you record your vocals poorly at the source.
However it hopeless. With a bit of knowledge of the basics and some common materials, you could make a surprisingly effective vocal tracking environment at home.
Right here’s everything you should build a DIY vocal booth to get studio quality vocals.
Why build a DIY vocal booth?
You could not just record your vocals in any room if you would like them to sound polished and professional.
Any seasoned professional engineer will let you know that the environment where you record is just as essential as your gear—if not more!
Since vocals are sometimes the loudest, most prominent element of a track any negative effects of a bad sounding room might be front and centre in your mix.
Engineers record vocal tracks as dry and direct as possible to make them large and authoritative in a mix.
Which means reducing the environment’s impact on the recording ASAP.
A lot of uncontrolled room reflections competing with the dry signal could reduce the punchiness and upfront feel of a vocal track—and make it sound farther away.
And that isn’t all. These bad reflections contribute to a negative impact called comb filtering that isn’t possible to remove after recording.
Highly comb filtered vocal takes will turn your mix process into a nightmare. That is where vocal booths come in.
Professional studios invest thousands in building vocal booths with great acoustics, however, you could get most of the advantages just with DIY strategies.
It doesn’t matter what genre you are working in if your music has vocals a DIY recording booth setup could make them sound better.
1. Partition a larger space
You may think a tight, enclosed space like a closet could be ideal for recording vocals. However, a space that is too small is just as problematic as a giant boomy one.
It’s tougher to completely neutralize the reflections and buildups of low end in smaller spaces. And the main resonant frequencies in the room (room nodes) are naturally higher in small spaces.
Those annoying resonances could get right up right into a vocalist’s main range if space is small enough.
The best strategy is to partition a bigger space like a bedroom to make your DIY vocal booth.
You will need to be able to hang the absorbent material from the wall or ceiling.
2. Use a sound absorbing material
Despite the persistence of the urban legend, egg cartons do completely nothing for the sonic qualities of a room.
The best option for sound absorption is real acoustic panels. You could DIY those too, however, that could be more effort than you bargained for.
The next best option is to use moving blankets or other kind of heavy fabric. A mattress could even work in a pinch!
Commercial acoustic foam could look like the perfect solution however its not necessarily more effective than basic absorptive materials for reducing reflections.
Your purpose is to dampen reflections, so for that, you will need mass and absorption—simple sheets or towels are not quite good enough!
3. Add absorption to hard surfaces and corners.
Right here’s where you get began creating your DIY vocal booth.
There’s no one-size-fits-all method to treat a room perfectly. However, here are the main points. You will have to adapt these to your own space to make an effective DIY vocal booth.
The main sources of problematic reflections are parallel hard surfaces. That counts the ceiling—particularly if it is low.
Attempt to cover bare walls and the ceiling in your space with your absorptive material.
Here’s the trick although—you will need to use the natural properties of air to help you make your DIY acoustic treatment more effective.
Attempt to hang your absorptive material so that you make a 2” air gap before the hard surface of the wall. You could even use a pair of mic stands as helps to get it just right.
Corners might be equally problematic. Excessive low-end could build up in corners and cause the room to sound boomy and bass-heavy overall.
Do your best to address these sources of bad reflections with absorption.
Experiment together with your acoustic therapy to learn the way to get the dryest sound potential
4. Concentrate on the area directly around the mic and singer
The design of the so-called “portable vocal booth” merchandise may lead you to believe that isolating the area directly behind the microphone is the most important.
Unfortunately, it is nearly the exact opposite.
Right here’s why. The best choices for vocals are sometimes microphones with a cardioid polar pattern.
Cardioid microphones provide the best rejection directly behind the address point. Which means most of what’s behind the microphone is already in the null!
That’s why you need to focus your acoustic treatment efforts on whatever shall be placed directly behind you as you sing.
However, it is also one of the reasons that dynamic microphones just like the Shure SM7B or Electrovoice RE20 are sometimes the first suggestion for recording vocals DIY.
Not only are they great cardioid mics, but dynamics like these are also less sensitive so they are naturally less affected by reflections. Traditional large diaphragm condensers are always a good option as well, however, to get the most out of them you will need to do some treatment.
After the area directly behind you, the next major offender for dangerous reflections is the ceiling. These could be tougher to treat by positioning your material, however, try your finest.
One option is to hang yet another heavy blanket from your mic stand tent poles like a fort.
It might sound silly, however it works. Eliminating the reflections coming from these directions could drastically enhance your vocal sound!
DIY or DIE
A DIY vocal booth could do an enormous amount to enhance the quality of your vocal recordings.
All it takes to create an effective DIY vocal booth is a bit of strategic absorption to reduce bad reflections.
Now that you have some ideas for attempting a DIY vocal booth, get back to your recording space and try some acoustic treatment!